The attributes of Jeet Kune Do.
Jeet Kune Do and Bruce Lee’s obsession with attributes and how to expand and develop/train them are one of the things he has always pursued on his martial path with a real obsession, more than technique itself.
To be a good fighter, it’s not just technique that’s enough, but attributes count.
One of the martial arts that most focuses on the study of attributes, a versatile science of combat is the Jeet Kune Do.
This art has in itself a real obsession with the development of the ability to express a technique going to work on all the characteristics of movement and time to be able to effectively apply the technique going to study all the aspects that are behind the gesture giving it a role and a meaning to build workouts that go to develop them.
A guide to combat attributes and some training methodologies:
Ps. I would add one more, but it was deliberately kept out by me which is feeding and caring for itself.
Technique and attributes
In Jeet Kune Do the focus of training is not on technique itself but on the development of attributes and going to enhance qualities such as animal sensitivity and instinct or killer instinct to determine the ability to fight, aspects that are part of the requirements of a street fighter.
When we talk about attributes we go to analyze aspects that are regardless of the techniques used and the martial art or sports practiced and represent the characteristics of the individual and are really the things that matter.
It’s not art but it’s man who’s making the difference
That’s why the question “what is the strongest martial art?” is a conceptually wrong question, but would it be more correct to ask what is the method that best develops the attributes that make my martial art work?
You often hear that a black belt with years of training behind it is easily beaten by a street fighter with no martial experience and I have talked about this in several articles but in this case the years of rigorous training of the black belt have not earned any profit because he studied the technique but is devoid of attributes.
Why is this happening?
The occurrence of these situations is determined not by the technical experience of the respective fighters but only by their attributes, that is, by the internal qualities that form the technique and the basis from which it makes it effective and functional.
the winner is the fighter who possesses superior attributes, qualities such as animal instinct (killer instinct), timing, reflexes, power, intentionality etc. and lastly also the technical ability.
Looking at the world of combat sports but in general in sport you have seen that in every area there are more gifted and successful individuals.
This is not because they are better technically, indeed often the techniques they use are the same for both or very similar but because they possess higher-level attributes.
It is so even more evident in the world of martial arts or combat sports and in JKD in particular the refinement of attributes represents the primary focus of training, a real obsession, a study of combat and that is why when someone tries to classify the JKD cataloguing it according to its technical repertoire remains disoriented because that is not the right approach.
The Jeet Kune Do is not about techniques or movements for its own right, but the way techniques and movements are performed, it is the study of combat, you can apply to any martial art or combat sports the principles and concepts of JKD.
This does not mean that you do not study techniques but are used with an attribute-related approach.
It’s a science, it’s the study of combat, and it’s sorry to see that people often don’t know JKD or interpret it in the wrong way.
The Jeet Kune Do you can apply it to any martial art because it is the study of combat is not the study of techniques that are clearly explained but that is not the focus.
What is a technique/a blow for those who study the Jeet Kune Do?
Let’s see it with jab’s blow, it’s the jabs that:
- is heard even before he is seen;
- can cause terrible damage;
- is brought to the ideal moment in a fight;
- is not telegraphed to the opponent.
What does this mean? that a jab that does not possess such qualities (or attributes) is a simple jab, but not a Jeet Kune Do technique.
Big work is all you need to build to get a shot with those features that may seem obvious but it is not because it is about doing all the work behind the shot and that technique giving it a completely new meaning and that goes to develop characteristics that some people already have inside and that they do instinctively but that other people instead need to be built or brought to the surface.
Jeet Kune Do is like the classic example of the iceberg and this is the reason of the cover image you have seen, what you see is the technique that is the end result of the process but hidden under the surface there is “the great mass of ice” that are the attributes but it is precisely “the hidden mass of the iceberg” that constitutes the real danger, because it is the largest and the most hidden.
A little bit of history
(Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto, the integration of Jeet Kune Do & Kali)
My personal experience with these two arts took place at the same time because in the school where I went both or rather specifically practiced jeet kune do, kali and panantukan / Knife,three courses different as time but that I started attending together, at the same time using Bob Breen’s programs.
Going back to the story of Lee’s encounter with Dan, when Dan Inosanto and Bruce Lee at the 1964 Ed Parker Internationals first met, Dan Inosanto was already an expert in martial art and a great athlete.
Dan Inosanto, after doing ‘sparring’ with Lee and those present, recounts that Lee did so using one hand and inosanto’s whole body, he realized that the martial techniques he had studied were of no use because in the ‘sparring’ Lee had played with Inosanto as the wolf with the lamb and he realized his mistake and Lee’s superiority.
I humbly accept that he was wrong about the validity of his previous workouts.
Lee had prevailed with his superior attributes and this led to Inosanto becoming a pupil of Lee and at the same time began to study Philippine martial arts under the guidance of important masters such as John La Coste,Leo Giron, Angel Cabales and others, who at the time taught their art only behind closed doors.
Masters like La Coste in their martial field were comparable to Bruce Lee, continuing to develop and refine his martial skills and evolution at a surprising and still unknown pace outside a small circle of intimates.
Dan Inosanto’s study and training with Lee and the Filipino masters radically transformed Inosanto’s way of thinking about the method of studying martial art where the development of attributes became the primary goal of all training, and although Lee’s attributes were not created with weapons training, Inosanto believed that martial artists in general to better develop their attributes must to achieve the level of skill that Lee achieved by introducing training in the use of weapons.
In Filipino martial arts before the bare hand you learn the use of weapons.
Inosanto discovered in numerous technical comparisons with his Filipino masters, that the Filipino martial arts student was always taught first the use of weapons, with the precise intention of enhancing the attributes of the student.
Teaching bare-handed techniques to a student who lacks attributes is in their way of thinking a waste of time and effort.
Dan Inosanto continued his study of Filipino martial art even after Lee’s death in 1973 and June 1974 he opened the ‘Filipino Kali Academy’ and a Jeet Kune Do class was included in his teaching program.
At that time the audience was infatuated with Bruce Lee and Jeet Kune Do thanks also to the film success the students were eager to learn about the technique but the problem was that the central point in the training of the JKD was and is the development of the attributes of each of them, whose technique is nothing more than a product.
Actually it would be like saying “use your martial art with the philosophy and method of the Jeet Kune Do”.
Attributes and training
More than once if you read the blog you know how Kali’s weapons training is an acceleration in the development of attributes for any martial art or combat sport, for example consider how the single stick and how its use can develop a key attribute, reflexes.
The single stick can achieve an impressive speed even worse when used by an expert and the experience of making ‘sparring’ in full contact with the stick (with full protections clearly), done for a period of time stimulates the nervous system to work at a much higher level.
Result, the reflections accelerate much more, and this becomes visible when you switch to the bare-handed ‘sparring’ where
the quickest punch or kick you get it seems to you to be moving in slow motion.
Another important attribute in JKD is sensitivity.
It allows you to hear quickly and accurately what your opponent is doing, allowing you to react in the most effective way and to develop these attributes there are many exercises present in many martial styles but which are very important.
The fight is also a close-contact system although on the ground it greatly promotes the sensitivity and kinestistic ability of the body that learns to feel and predict in advance what the opponent is doing.
Even you can do preparatory exercises such as struggling with your eyes closed and blindfolded to raise the level even more.
One method that the Jeet Kune Do uses to develop sensitivity is the ‘sparring’ at close range with the knife, the short fencing I have often told you about on the blog but staying at close range, so a specific job.
Each controls the opponent’s armed hand with his other hand, and they both attempt to ‘cut’ the other without being cut.
One way to do this is to put a gum in the middle and keep both one foot inside.
Since cutting a sharp knife anywhere in the body creates damage or shock that usually ends combat, the degree of sensitivity and attention required for armed close-range ‘sparring’ is very high.
When returning to the bare-handed ‘trapping’ and his consistent strokes, the student discovers that his sensitivity is much improved.
In Jeet Kune Do attributes are much more important than techniques and it is also difficult to give a definition of JKD compared to other martial arts especially for those who usually distinguish the arts according to their techniques.
The difficulty of this awareness is combined with a remarkable variety of techniques within the JKD, although, of all the techniques enclosed within, only the 20 is really used.
Here, too, the principle of 80/20!
To fight simple and effectively you have to know a lot because it is the process by which you develop the attributes that allow you to fight simple even with a few techniques but in reality behind there is a huge technical baggage but you see only the 20.
In order to understand and internalize the principles of JKD you need to have a different mindset, where at the center you are, you have to create your own JKD.
The problem with this approach is that many have misunderstood this thing by making anything JKD become but that’s not how it works.
The specific attributes of the Jeet Kune Do and the training methods used are listed in the table and following these attributes you need to build your JKD related to your experience and martial art that you usually use whatever it is.
The Jeet Kune Do is not related to shots but to attributes.
How do you set up your training program?
When deciding how to structure your martial arts studio in general, you have to take into account 4 criteria:
- Your age
- The training time you can spend
- Your morphology
- Your purpose
Your age is also something you need to consider. If you look at the table, it is easy to see that some attributes (such as flexibility, endurance and speed) best suit younger practitioners (under forty) although it is possible to maintain these attributes even at an older age but it should nevertheless be remembered that this becomes difficult over time.
In the case instead of sensitivity, which is easy to maintain, its development is progressive at age, improves if constantly practiced and developed.
The real training time you can devote to the week is another element to consider and calibrate with the goals you want to achieve.
It is unrealistic to choose multiple limbs that require four hours of practice per day 6 days a week as I have done for years with the aim of achieving certain progress and it must also be taken into account that studying some arts or work areas requires different training times than others with a consequent greater commitment on your part that you must be willing to do if you want to learn well otherwise better practice arts that require less commitment.
For example, blows with the head, elbow and knee require less attributes than most medium- and long-distance techniques such as boxing or Muay Thai, a speech still apart from the study of ground combat such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Submission Grappling.
Your physical morphology is another element that you need to consider.
Being the body the instrument with which the attributes express themselves means that each shot is very determined by the nature of each body.
The development of speed, leg play and timing will be more present in the ectomorph (which is tall and lean), while forward pressure and strength will express themselves better in the endomorph (which is small and massive).
The essence of JKD is therefore not focused on learning new techniques over time in the multitude of techniques that can be learned but a continuous refinement of one’s own attributes, the only ones responsible for the real effectiveness of each technique.
Studying new techniques without working on attributes is something useless if your purpose is the real effectiveness of art.
Your goal is your personal goal, something more intimate, that is why you want to learn martial art or combat sports, etc. a question that only you can answer and that can often start with an answer that varies over time.